A Child’s Garden of Verses

Wowee, what a revelation! I can remember being charmed by some of the poems in this book when I was little, especially ” The Land of Counterpane,”and “From a Railway Carriage”is still a classic but I hadn’t realised how dated it is. My copy has very sugary illustrations and I found the constant reference to “nursie” irritating but there is a severe lack of political correctness, partly, I believe, because it was written from a boy’s point of view and partly because, in an effort to include other countries Stevenson could not help but show the attitudes of the time (1920) The poem “Foreign Children” is offensive to modern eyes and there is a mention of the word “negro” which I would argue should be left as it is true to the period and not meant in a derogatory manner.

“The Lamplighter”could start a history lesson. “Windy Nights” could be the inspiration for an English lesson and there would be a lot of mileage in asking why so many poems were full of marching and drums and fighting. When I was young we all played war games, cowboys and indians, lead soldiers. I even used chess pieces as armies. That was then and this is now.

Thanks for making me look again at a book I treasured .

Poetry

Thanks to a wordpress blog I decided to purchase the Poems of the Decade as most of the poems I write are quite old fashioned, with a lot of rhyming couplets. This is a book of modern poetry by a variety of poets and I’m hoping it will help me to write something more acceptable to today’s readers. At school, in the sixties, the nearest we got to modern poetry was TS Eliot. and the poems I remember were the ones we recited as children, like ‘I must go down to the seas again…’ and the Walrus and the Carpenter.

Glancing through this volume I found only one poem that rhymed. I didn’t study literature at University and this will take some getting used to. I’m not pedantic about verse but I probably need some time to immerse myself in the new forms and try to remember how to analyse them from distant A level days!

We never stop learning.

Anthology

In the middle of editing the poetry anthology. Poems from four very different writers and I am wondering whether to keep the two different set ups. Some are written from the left margin and some centred. I quite like the variety but I’ll have to talk with my designer. I’d also like a border of some sort. I looked at some on line and I think I have found one I like but should it be the same on every page? Also, I have changed some of the punctuation and am tempted to restore the originals as they are how the author intended. I only found one spelling error in twenty poems. Now to get it all in order for October, when I am hoping we can make some sales.

The view from our house.

Hi folks, thanks for staying with me. I’m trying to find an image that will reproduce on twitter so folk know it’s me but I don’t have to change it every time.

I hope you liked the story. I am still working on the poetry anthology and will need to cast the pantomime, probably by September. I’ll be back when I have something to report.

Poem- “Ponderings”

Why is it when we ponder, of past times we get fonder?

We remember the day life when was all play-

Through forests and fields we would wander.

It was fun going off on a train, no matter if sun or if rain

We could draw, we could read, we had all we could need

We didn’t seek riches or fame.

There was plenty of work for us all. We were proud, as a country, stood tall

But time sowed a seed of enveloping greed

And technology held us in thrall.

They tell us that knowledge is power. that computers will help nations flower

But with fighting and war the death tolls still soar

We witness their lies by the hour.

Do the children born now feel the same? Is living, for them, still a game?

Or has it all changed, is the world rearranged

And if so – who is it to blame?

 

( Taken from the anthology ” Honey and Humbug” which I produced with three others. Now out of print)

Preparation

This is almost as difficult as research. I have a bunch of poems to make up an anthology and need to find a linking theme, a title and then sort them so there aren’t two poems on the same subject next to each other. Then I need to find the ones that need illustrations, a good font and decide how many pages we can afford.

I have already decided we can do without an ISBN and it can be stapled rather than glued. We easily sold and gave away 100 copies of the last book we did like this “Honey and Humbug” and I don’t anticipate having any trouble doing the same again.

All the poets included write verses that are easy to recite, although I do put in a few that do not rhyme and Joan, in particular, writes poems that contain humour as well as a perceptive insight into the past.

Being an editor as well as an author has its benefits as, at the moment, my creative juices have dried up. I’m back to selling one book a week if I’m lucky so I need this anthology to keep me positive.

Old age

Time for blogging has been at a premium this week, partly because I haven’t been well, partly because I have been trying to get rid of paper and partly because I am now using one of my few free afternoons trying to get fit.

Bandana is a new exercise class where the trainer fits the exercises to the individual and each person gets personal advice on exercise and nutrition. Today the TV suggested old folk should do exercise to keep their brains active.

I sat in bed this morning and wrote a poem about feeling more like a tortoise than a bird.Hopefully it will be in the new poetry anthology I am planning. I may not have ideas for a seventh novel but I am writing poetry again. I think maybe I ought to read more as my verses echo those of fifty years ago! If I don’t blog as often it will be because I am writing, at last!